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No Separation ~~~~~~

  BY FRANCESROGERS

God sent His Son
God’s Son sent His Spirit
God’s Spirit lives in us

We find these truths throughout the Word of God, and Romans 8 expounds on the work of the Trinity. From the planning to the inception God is sovereign; in control; and bringing to pass His plans for our salvation; made before the foundation of the world.

The power of the gospel that brings about the obedience of faith in all nations (1:5; 16:26) is the working of the Holy Spirit since the completion of Christ’s work (1:4); and will be finished as He has planned.

Connecting the Dots
The Holy Bible is a precious book; a canon; a volume of many books; but more than anything else, it is a workbook, which we must use for all time and endurance of life. It identifies the author, His work, and His workers. We go through, looking for God. He permeates the whole book. We find Him in the beginning and the end. We find Him in Jesus Christ. We find Him in the Holy Spirit. We see Him working in His creatures; in His creation and His redemption. All is His.

Sarah Roap Romans 8-26

When we come to the book of Romans we go a little deeper in our understanding of truth that has been hidden from some because of the change in the teaching and preaching of the gospel in the last century.

It is only as we see that God has full control to work what He has planned from the foundation of the world; before the world began (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9) that we can be assured of “no condemnation” and “no separation.” We cannot save ourselves from God’s wrath; or keep ourselves through the suffering and temptation of this world.

This chapter connects these truths to each of the Trinity. They are united in this great plan for the power of the gospel for our salvation. As we meditate we look for the work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In all study of the Bible we find Christ at the center; all things connecting to and pointing from and to Him for all things.

Treasure, Impact, Assurance
In the halfway mark in Paul’s letter to Romans we need to stop; take a breather; and sit down with this letter that is included in God’s word. I cannot in these notes unpack what has been recorded here for His people. If we take the time to read, meditate, saturate, and absorb what is here we find a treasure box from which God, by His Spirit, brings us to understand the fullness of the truth which we have been given in and through Christ Jesus, our Lord. To understood predestination we need to let God lead us to see the truth of His own work and glory in us.  To get the full impact of the whole book of Romans we must allow the Holy Spirit, that intercedes for us, to lead us and teach us here and through the remainder of Paul’s letter.

In Romans 8:19-39 we can look for these words; meditate on the verses from which these come; experience the impact; and be assured of the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit to accomplish all His work within us ~ for His glory and our joy.

Expectation
Delivered
Liberty
Waiting
Saved
Hope
Patience
Spirit
Intercession
Saints
Everything
Know
Good
Purpose
Foreknow
Predestined
Conformed
Image
Called
Justified
Glorified
Intercession
Conquerors
Elect
Persuaded
Love
God
Christ
Lord

romans8_37-460x345

Dear Father, we are helpless, except for your life that is given us in Christ. I pray for the authority of your word to be commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit; to accomplish all that you have planned for each of us today. In Jesus name I thank you and praise you. Amen.

https://godsgracegodsglory.com/2014/10/

The Historicity of the Resurrection Appearances to James, Peter, Paul, and the Disciples

James Bishop

It may come to one’s surprise that current scholarship holds that the disciples, James (Christ’s skeptical brother), Paul (the former Pharisee and early church persecutor), and Peter were certain that the “risen” Christ had appeared to them, convincing them that he had been raised from the dead (1).

Gary Habermas has examined 3400 academic articles authored by critical scholars over the last half-century on the historical Jesus and found that the resurrection appearances are one of several facts that “are so strongly attested historically that they are granted by nearly every scholar who studies the subject, even the rather skeptical ones” (2).

This is the view of scholars holding to various ideologies and it is therefore not the conclusion drawn by conservative Christian scholars who might be thought to have the greatest investment in the resurrection of Christ. A few scholars are worth mentioning. Historian Gerd Ludemann claims that on the basis of historical evidence “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’s death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ” (3). According to James Crossley, “the resurrection appearances are some of the hardest, best evidence we have” (4). Rudolph Bultmann conceded that “All that historical criticism can establish is that the first disciples came to believe the resurrection” (5). Bart Ehrman states that,

“Historians, of course, have no difficulty whatsoever speaking about the belief in Jesus’ resurrection, since this is a matter of public record. For it is a historical fact that some of Jesus’ followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead soon after his execution” (6).

What are some of the reasons for these views?

Early and Independent Attestation

One of the criteria used by historians to determine what’s likely historical is early and independent attestation. As a criterion, this considers those sources which are early (dated to within close proximity of the events they describe) and independent (that the narratives described come from the author himself and were not borrowed or derived from other earlier sources).

The resurrection appearance narratives of Christ to his disciples are recorded in sources referring to early events, such as the sermon summaries of Acts. The resurrection was the central message of the early church as narrated by the author of Acts (1:21-22; 2:22, 24, 32; 10:39-41, 43a; 13:30-31, 34a, 37; 17:2-3, 30-31; 24:21; 26:22-23). This suggests that the resurrection teaching was present at the beginning and not a later development attributed to the early Christians.

There are also early source materials, one of which is a creed the Apostle Paul received that dates within five years of Christ’s crucifixion. According to Ludemann, this creed can be dated to just three years of Christ’s crucifixion,

“…the elements in the tradition are to be dated to the first two years after the crucifixion of Jesus…not later than three years…the formation of the appearance traditions mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:3-8 falls into the time between 30 and 33 C.E.” (7)

This creed is in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 and is possibly the earliest material in the New Testament. The content is informative. It records that a number of people including Peter, the disciples, 500 witnesses, James, and Paul had experiences where the resurrected Christ appeared to them, convincing them that he had been raised from the dead.

Paul also made at least two trips to Jerusalem during his ministry after his conversion. According to Galatians, he interviews the disciples about the gospel and later writes that they preach the same message (1 Cor. 15:11). This suggests that the disciples, Paul, and possibly other anonymous Christians were preaching the resurrection from the earliest moments post the death of Christ.

The resurrection was an early teaching of the church. It was taught by Paul, the disciples, and by the church in Acts at the beginning. This presents a strong challenge to claims that the resurrection teachings were a product of later Christian theology or is explainable by mythological or legendary embellishment that accrued over time.

Multiple and Independent Attestation

The New Testament contains several sources that independently attest to Christ’s resurrection appearances. All four canonical gospels independently attest to the resurrection. The appearance to Peter is independently attested by Luke and the appearance to the Twelve by Luke and John. We also have independent witness to Galilean appearances in MarkMatthew, and John, as well as to the women in Matthew and John (8).

Paul himself attests to the resurrection throughout his authentic epistles, one of which, as we already noted, contains a very early creed. Likewise, early sermons are reported in Acts that confirms that the resurrection message was central to early preaching.

There is also independent attestation from extra-biblical Christian writings. Clement of Rome says that Christians have “complete certainty caused by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ… (9)” Clement was writing quite early, likely at the same time as the book of Revelation (around 95 CE). Likewise, Polycarp, around 110 CE, refers to the resurrection and the beliefs of the disciples (10).

Clement and Polycarp are significant voices as they were contemporaries of the disciples and knew them. Irenaeus says that Clement “had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them,” and that “Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna… (11)” Likewise, Tertullian writes that “Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter” (12). As such, Clement and Polycarp affirm that the resurrection was taught by the disciples themselves.

Historians are dealing with a fairly significant number of source materials that reference the resurrection appearances of Christ. There are eight of these in the form of Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Paul, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp. Of these, several are early: Mark’s gospel and Paul’s creed (1 Cor. 15:3-8), and the message was evidently at the heart of the earliest Christian teachings (Acts 2 and the Apostle Paul).

James, Christ’s Skeptical Brother, Experiences Resurrection Appearances

James was the skeptical brother of Christ who converted after being convinced that he witnessed the risen Christ. What is surprising is that James was presented as a skeptic who rejected his brother initially (Mark 3:21; 6:2-4, 6; John 7:5; 19:25-27). According to Ludemann, “James had no religious link with his brother during Jesus’ lifetime” (19).

In a striking turn of events, however, James is later seen with the disciples. He also becomes a leader in the early church founded by his brother. He is also martyred for his efforts. James is recorded as being among the disciples after Christ had appeared to him (Acts 1:14) and was an important figure in the early church given that he is mentioned first in the list of disciples by Paul (Gal. 2:9). Evidently James went from a skeptic to a disciple and then to a leader in the church.

There are good reasons to accept James’ conversion as a historical fact. It would seem to satisfy the criterion of embarrassment. This criterion is tool historians use that says that the early New Testament writers would not have made up an embarrassing detail or story that would have made them look foolish if it had not actually occurred. As a rule of thumb, when writers invested in a historical figure, movement, or cause mention details that are embarrassing to themselves, their leader, and their movement, it is likely to be historical and suggestive of an honest attempt to report events as they happened. One discovers this within the context of James’ conversion. According to theologian Chris Price,

“Remarkably, James didn’t believe in his brother during Jesus’ earthly ministry, an embarrassing detail the Gospel writers wouldn’t have made up. In fact, John 7:5 just states, “For even his own brothers didn’t believe in him.” But we also know as a matter of history that James becomes a leader in the early church (Galatians 1, Acts 15), worshiping his brother as messiah and Lord to the point of eventually dying for that belief” (20).

That James rejected his brother of whom he later came to believe was truly the Messiah would have been an embarrassment for him. He would have felt foolish and embarrassed, perhaps cringing when remembering his initial rejection of Christ. However, James somehow put his doubt behind him to become an important figure in the early church. It is good to note that James’ rejection of Christ wasn’t trivial, as Habermas writes that “For it to be remembered over many decades, James’ unbelief was probably rather staunch” (21).

We also have Christ’s appearance to James in Paul’s creed of 1 Cor. 15: 3-7, which, as we noted, is accepted to be within three to five years of Christ’s crucifixion. Ludemann finds the creed an important piece of evidence to understanding Christian origins, saying that “Because of 1 Cor. 15:7 it is certain that James ‘saw’ his brother” (22). Paul also had direct access to James and spoke with him regarding the gospel on at least two occasions (Galatians 1-2).

James was also willing to suffer and even die for his faith in the risen Christ. It is likely that he did in fact die a martyr, as recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. According to Flavius, James “the brother of Jesus, who was called the Christ… was delivered to be stoned” (23). This passage, which constitutes the second reference to Christ in Josephus’ writing, is “universally acknowledged” (24). There is also further corroboration of James’ death by Hegesippus, a church historian writing around 165 to 175 CE, who also confirms that James was stoned (25). The church historian Eusebius quotes Josephus, Hegesippus, and Clement of Alexandria regarding the martyrdom of James (26).

James’ death for his belief that Christ had appeared to him would suggest his sincerity. It is a struggle for ulterior motives to explain his change. For example, one might argue that James only claimed to have seen the risen Christ so that he could heighten his chances of becoming a leader in the early church. But if that was so then we would expect him to recant in the face of being stoned to death. Neither did becoming a member of the early church come with material benefits. It certainly was not desirable for those pursuing materialistic ends and a reputation. No member in the early church was going to become rich or famous. In fact, to the contrary, the early Christian sources and Roman sources are clear that the Christians at the time were suppressed, persecuted, threatened, and sometimes murdered. Given these factors, it is more likely that the church would attract members who were sincere in their belief in Christ. It is thus more likely that James was sincere that he witnessed the risen Christ, which motivated him to lead the church and eventually perish for his efforts. The late biblical scholar Reginald Fuller found James conversion so striking in light of these details that, “It might be said that if there were no record of an appearance to James the Lord’s brother in the New Testament we should have to invent one in order to account for his post-resurrection conversion and rapid advance” (27).

Paul, the Early Church Persecutor, Experiences a Resurrection Appearance

The Apostle Paul was previously known by the name Saul and his testimony is similar to James’. Saul, we learn from the early Christian writings and from his own admission, played a role in the early persecution of the Christian movement that just begun to grow after Christ’s death. Having later converted to this movement and also having changed his name to Paul, Paul expresses shame and embarrassment for his role in the persecution of the early Christians. He refers to himself as “the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor. 15:9). Indeed this is a striking and very honest statement from Paul given his leadership role in the church at the time of writing this letter. Basically, Paul is saying that he does not deserve to be a follower of Christ due to the crimes he committed against Christ in the early persecutions. In light of this, it would seem we are dealing with a sincere individual with regards to Paul.

However, there is an important distinction between the conversion testimonies of James and Paul. James was a skeptic and an unbeliever in Christ. Paul was skeptical but also an active persecutor of the early church. Paul witnessed the murdering and persecution of early Christians, and he approved of it. The author of Acts speaks of how “Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison” (8:3). Paul also approved of the stoning of Stephen, who has the unfortunate reputation of probably being the first martyr in Christian history (Acts 8:1-2). Clearly then Paul’s opposition was deep and radical to the point of wishing to eliminate the blasphemous Christian message entirely.

That Paul persecuted the early church is well attested historically. Paul himself admits to this in several of his authentic epistles (1 Cor. 15:9-10; Gal. 1:12-16, 22-23; Phil. 3:6-7), and is confirmed by Luke’s attestation in the book of Acts. Paul’s persecution of the early church is therefore independently attested in two sources and comes from Paul himself.

The persecution also satisfies the criterion of embarrassment. As we noted in the words of 1 Corinthians 15:9 above, Paul felt shame for the role he played in the persecution, which would have been a source of embarrassment to him as a leader of the church. In fact, so much so that he thinks it is unjustified for others to see him as a Christ-follower. It is highly unlikely that Paul would have attributed to himself this very unpleasant and embarrassing narrative had it not been what he attempted to do at some point.

Paul’s authentic epistles constitute the strongest historical evidence for his conversion. Scholarship divides Paul’s letters into two main categories: authentic and disputed. The authentic letters are those legitimately authored by Paul himself, from his own hand or through dictation to a scribe. Those letters that are disputed concern authorship attributed to Paul but were likely authored by someone else. Although both disputed and authentic letters matter, particularly important are the latter for gaining insight into Paul.

Paul’s conversion is detailed in the book of Acts. According to Acts, Paul (then Saul) was journeying with a company to Damascus to persecute Christians there. Christ appears to Paul in a vision while on the road and asks him why he is persecuting him (meaning the church). Paul then “fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (9:4). Paul was subsequently blinded for three days and had to be led into Damascus by the hand where, after being prayed for by someone claiming to be sent by God, he received his vision once again (9:1-22). This was the seed of Paul’s conversion. According to Bart Ehrman, “Paul was undoubtedly the most important convert in the history of the Christian religion” (3). Paul also speaks about this experience. In Galatians, he refers to how God “was pleased to reveal his son to me” (1:16) and he includes himself on the list of people Christ had appeared to in his resurrection body (the early creed of 1 Corinthians 15).

Like James, Paul lived a new life as a Christ-follower with a willingness to suffer and be persecuted. It is a striking transition all things considered. Paul went from a position of power as a persecutor to a follower and leader who had little power. This reflects in Paul’s experiences of various abuses and eventual martyrdom. Paul was incarcerated and endured beatings (2 Cor. 11:24-27), the Jews with whom he spoke tried to kill him (Acts 9:29), he was persecuted (Acts 13:50, 1 Cor. 4:12, 2 Cor. 4:9, 2 Tim. 3:11, Phil. 1:12-30), stoned and dragged out of the city (Acts 14:9), beaten with rods (Acts 16:22), endured trial (Acts 18:12), verbally abused by crowds (Acts 21:36, 22:22), and incarcerated (2 Tim. 2:9). Clement of Rome also refers to these experiences: “[Paul] after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned… and suffered martyrdom under the prefects” (32). Polycarp also attests to Paul’s martyrdom (33), as does Tertullian, according to whom we learn that “Paul was beheaded”) (34), and Eusebius who quotes Dionysius of Corinth and Origin concerning Paul’s martyrdom (35).

A good number of independent sources present Paul’s willingness to suffer hardship and pain for his newfound faith: Paul’s authentic letters (2 Corinthians; Philippians), a disputed letter (2 Timothy), Acts, and Clement of Rome.

The Appearance to the 500

We have noted several times the early creed Paul picked up and relayed to his readers in Corinth, which scholars date to within a few years of Christ’s crucifixion. The creed is relevant to the resurrection because it speaks of various appearances. In it, Dan Wallace explains, Paul “defends physical resurrection as part of the passed-on tradition he received when he became a Christian, beliefs he reports in the AD 50s but that reach back to his conversion in the 30s” (36).

The creed speaks of the resurrected Christ appearing to a group of 500 people. Without rejecting this detail because it mentions a supernatural event, many would agree that its reliability depends on Paul’s trustworthiness as a writer and as a member of the Christian movement. We already noted Paul’s sincerity in his conversion and through his various reflections. In light of that, there is little reason to doubt Paul’s sincerity in his passing down of this creed and its claim that 500 people witnessed the resurrected Christ.

A few additional reasons compel us to accept this creed. Most compelling is that a detail such as this, which is an extraordinary one (even for people open to miracles), would subject Paul’s reputation to scrutiny. If it turned out that he was lying about Christ’s appearance to the 500 people (or any of the others listed in the creed), it would have likely been discovered. One would think that someone within a group of 500 would at some point discover they are being used in a fabrication and object to it. Paul’s reputation was on the line, yet reputation was crucial to his role as a teacher and leader of the early Christian movement. Given, as we noted, that Paul was already ashamed at his reputation of once having been a persecutor of the church, it is unlikely that he would subject himself to further risks of damaging his reputation by fabricating lies about Christ appearing to so many people. Wallace explains,

“It is agreed upon by all teaching scholars in the western world (6000+) that Paul believed that Jesus appeared to these more than 500 eyewitnesses… Paul’s credibility was on the line with many false teachers in Corinth and so if these more than 500 could not be corroborated it would have greatly hurt Paul’s reputation” (39).

The Disciples and Peter’s willingness to suffer for the risen Jesus

We can now look at some of the evidence pointing to the conviction of the other disciples and Peter that Christ appeared to them after his death.

Here it is important to acknowledge Peter’s denial of Jesus during his ministry. According to the gospels, Jesus foresaw Peter’s denial (Mark 14:29-31; Matt. 26: 33-35, Luke 22:33-34, John 13:36-38) and later, after Jesus is captured, Peter does deny him (Luke 22:54-57, Mark 14:69-70; Matthew 26:73-75; John 18:13-27). This event passes the criterion of independent attestation as it is reported in two independent gospels. Peter’s denial also satisfies the criterion of embarrassment as he would later become a leader in the early church. It is unlikely that the gospel authors would make an important leader of the church deny the very person it is built upon if the denial did not actually happen. It was surely a shameful and embarrassing event for Peter who denied Jesus out of fear for his life to then later become a bold proclaimer of Jesus’ message.

It is further important to acknowledge the prior state of the disciples before Jesus’ appearance to them. We read that the disciples went into hiding behind locked doors following the arrest and crucifixion (John 20:19) and were afraid to publicly talk about Jesus (John 7:13). During Jesus’ arrest, the disciples fled (Mark 14:50; Matt. 26:56). However, the disciples also evidence a striking transformation. We find them proclaiming the risen Jesus in the book of Acts with the resurrection being their central message. Consequently, both Peter and John are imprisoned for this (Acts 4), and in Acts 5 the apostles are arrested, imprisoned, and flogged. Acts 12 speaks of the martyrdom of James (the brother of John) and another imprisonment of Peter. Stephen was stoned to death after his witness before the Sanhedrin (Acts 6-8). Persecution of Christians is further attested in other sources, for example, in Tacitus account of the statewide persecution of Christians under Emporer Nero in 64 CE (Annals 15.44:2–5) and Suetonius (Nero 16.2). Although persecution was sporadic and local, from this point forward Christians could be arrested and killed for their beliefs. According to the book of Revelation, John is said to be in Patmos where he was possibly exiled to (1:9). As we saw above in the context of Paul, Clement of Rome attests to the persecution and martyrdom of both Peter and Paul. Clement writes that “Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labors and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him” (41). Ignatius writing around 110 CE says that “on this account [of experiencing the risen Jesus] also did they [the disciples] despise death” (42). Sometime later Origen argues that the disciples would not have despised death if they did not in fact experience the risen Jesus (43). According to scholar Sanders “Many of the people in these lists [of witnesses] were to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming that they had seen the risen Lord, and several of them would die for their cause” (44). According to Gary Habermas, “Virtually no one, friend or foe, believer or critic, denies that it was their convictions that they had seen the resurrected Jesus that caused the disciples’ radical transformations. They were willing to die specifically for their resurrection belief” (45).

Eleven sources testify to the willingness of the apostles to suffer and risk death for their belief in the resurrection: Luke, Paul, Josephus, Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria, Polycarp, Ignatius, Dionysius of Corinth, Tertullian, Origen, and Hegesippus. New Testament scholar Craig Keener writes that “These disciples plainly believed that Jesus had risen; and not only that, but that they had seen him alive” (46). Eight sources testify to the disciples’ proclamation that Jesus rose from the dead and had appeared to them: Paul (including 1 Cor. 15:3-8), Sermon Summaries (Acts 2), Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp.

Christianity’s Uniqueness Based on the Resurrection of Jesus:

When one contrasts the Christian movement with other movements an interesting image emerges. Other movements of the time claiming the coming of a Messiah were stopped in their tracks when their leaders were killed by the ruling authorities. This was the fate of movements led by figures such as Judas the Galilean (6 CE), Simon bar-Giora (70 CE), and Bar Kochbar (135 CE). However, the Jesus movement survived the death of its founder. Jesus was put to death in a shameful manner on the cross and later, rather than his movement dying with him there, one finds the resurrection proclamation being spread by his followers (48). Scholar Luke Timothy Johnson rightly remarks that “Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was” (50). Christians will argue that the resurrection of Christ is the only factor that can adequately explain why the Jesus movement continued to exist beyond the death of Jesus himself when, if it were to follow the pattern of other failed Messiahs, it should have died with him on the cross.

The Unlikely Conception of a Resurrected Messiah.

The early conception of a resurrected Messiah calls out for explanation given the first-century Jewish context in which it emerged. The general Jewish concept of a resurrection was an event that would occur in the future at the general resurrection. The general resurrection is the resurrection of all people and it did not hold that one person would be resurrected before others. Jewish scholar Vermes writes that “But above all… neither they [the disciples] nor anyone else expected a resurrection” (51). The resurrection of a single individual in Jesus is therefore a striking teaching for this context. Theologian William Craig explicates,

“The disciples would have been completely un-Jewish to adopt language of resurrection from the dead to express their experience, and there were other categories of Jewish thought and vocabulary that could have been used to express their experience, and resurrection – which had reference solely to the raising up of the dead body in the tomb to new life – was not one of them” (52).

Likewise scholar N. T. Wright states that,

“Nobody was expecting this kind of thing; no kind of conversion-experience would have generated such ideas; nobody would have invented it, no matter how guilty (or how forgiven) they felt, no matter how many hours they pored over the scriptures. To suggest otherwise is to stop doing history and to enter into a fantasy world of our own” (53).

Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone’s rising from the dead to glory and immortality before the general resurrection at the end of the world (54). In light of this, it must have been the case that the disciples and early Christians had an experience of what they believed to have been the resurrected Jesus.

Conclusions

It is time to draw conclusions. Firstly, the vast majority of historians and scholars agree that the disciples, Peter, Paul, and James were convinced that the risen Jesus had appeared to them. We observed why this is the case. Particularly, we saw how the conversions based on the appearances satisfied several criteria, including early and independent attestation, and the criterion of embarrassment. The resurrection proclamation was also preached early as demonstrated in the early creed, Paul’s authentic and disputed epistles, and the sermons in the book of Acts. The conversions and willingness to suffer by James, Paul, and the disciples were noted, as were the martyrdoms. The best explanation is that these people had experiences of a resurrected Jesus who appeared to them convincing them that he had been raised from the dead. The final points reviewed the early Christian resurrection conception’s uniqueness in the context of the Jewish background.

References:

1. Habermas, G. The Minimal Facts Approach to the Resurrection of Jesus: The Role of Methodology as a Crucial Component in Establishing HistoricityAvailable.

2. Habermas, G. & Licona, M. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. p. 44.

3. Ludemann, G. 1995. What Really Happened? p. 80.

4. Crossley, J. 2015. Unbelievable? New Testament listener Q&A – Gary Habermas & James Crossley

5. Bultmann, R. quoted in Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Myth (p. 42) by Robert Segal.

6. Ehrman, B. 1999. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. p. 231.

7. Ludemann, G. 1994. The Resurrection of Jesus: History, Experience, Theology. p. 38.

8. Craig, W. The Resurrection of Jesus. Available.

9. Clement, 1 Clement, 42.

10. Polycarp, To the Philippians, 1,2,9, and 12.

11. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3.3

12. Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics, 32.

13. Antiquities, 18:3.3.

14. Feldman, L. 1997. Josephus, Judaism and Christianity. p. 55–57.

15. Craig, W. 2009. Independent Sources for Jesus’ Burial and Empty Tomb. Available.

16. Howell, M & Prevenier, W. 2001. From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods.

17. Habermas, G. & Licona, M. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. p. 59.

18. Sanders, E quoted in A Serious Way of Wondering (p. 44) by Reynolds Price.

19. Ludemann, G. 1994. ibid. p. 109.

20. Price, C. 2015. Making Sense of Resurrection Data. Available.

21. Habermas, G. 2003. The Risen Jesus and Future Hope. p. 22.

22. Ludemann, G. 1994Ibid. p. 109.

23. Josephus, F. 95 AD. Antiquities, 20.9.1.

24. Feldman, L. quoted in A Rabbi Looks at Jesus of Nazareth (p. 129) by Jonathan Bernis.

25. Hegesippus, fragments from His Five Books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church, 1.

26. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.23.

27. Fuller, R. 1980. The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives. p. 37.

28. Hengel, M. 1977. Crucifixion.

29. Ehrman, B. 2006. Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend. p. 101.

30. Collated by Stegmann, R. 2015. New Testament Foundations. p. 85.

31. Price, C. 2015. Ibid. Available.

32. Clement, 1 Clement, 5.

33. Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians9.

34. Tertullian, Scorpiace, 15.

35Eusebius quotes Dionysius of Corinth in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.25.8 writing that “I have quoted these things in order that the truth of the history might be still more confirmed.” Eusebius also quotes Origin regarding both Peter and Paul’s martyrdom in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.1.1-2

36. Bock, D. & Wallace, D. 2010. Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ.

37. Moreland, J. 1987. Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity. Chapter 6.

38. Price, C. 2015. Ibid. Available.

39. Wallace, D. 2015. Fact Checking Dan Barker From our Recent DebateAvailable.

40. Craig, W. Visions of Jesus: A Critical Assessment of Gerd Lüdemann’s Hallucination Hypothesis. Available.

41. Clement, 1 Clement, 5.

42. Ignatius, To the Smyrnaeans, 3.

43. Origen, Contra Celsum, 2:56; 2:77.

44. Sanders, E. 1995. The Historical Figure of Jesus. p. 279-280.

45. Habermas, G. The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus. Available.

46. Keener, C. 2009. The Historical Jesus of the Gospels. p. 342.

47. Craig, W. 2012. Stephen Law on the Non-existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Available.

48. Wright, N. Jesus Resurrection and Christian Origins. p. 615–635.

49. Bock, D & Wallace, D. 2010. Ibid.

50. Johnson, L. 1997. The Real Jesus. p. 136.

51. Vermes, G. 2011. Jesus the Jew: A Historians Reading of the Gospels. p. 40.

52. Craig, W. Doctrine of Christ (part 18). Available.

53. Wright, N. 2003. Christian Origins and the Question of God, III: The Resurrection of the Son of God. p. 707.

54. Craig, W. The Resurrection of JesusAvailable.

As America’s Parents Are Demonized, We Have Only 1 Hope for the Future

By Sheri Few  January 26, 2023

According to a familiar phrase, you can tell a lot about a man by his enemies.

That was never more true than it is about a brave father who has been fighting against moral corruption and intellectual degradation in the public school system in Downers Grove, Illinois.

If we gauge Terry Newsome, president of Illinois Parents Involved in Education, by his enemies, then Newsome will indeed seem heroic, resisting the invasion of drag queen bingo and grooming books in the library like “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” with its graphic sexual representations and extremely inappropriate content.

Like Terry, many parents originally sent their children to public school in good faith, thinking their children were in the care of honorable teachers who would instill the necessary academic skills for becoming self-sufficient adults who can think for themselves.

And like some of those parents, Terry was in for a shock when he learned the schools were contradicting and undermining the values and mindset he and his wife were teaching their children at home. He was appalled to learn that education leaders didn’t care if parents objected to the systematic manipulation of young minds toward accepting shocking sexual practices.

In 2021, when Newsome spoke up at a school board meeting with concerns shared by parents across the country about “Gender Queer,” he was attacked by a Twitter account called Antifascist Rumor Mill, and later he was added to the most notorious list used by Marxist agitators to identify their targets.

If that weren’t enough, Terry has been contacted by concerned representatives in the new Congress who have shown great interest in Terry’s interactions with the Downers Grove School District.

Why? Terry has been potentially libeled in posts by an alleged antifa associate on the site of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC added Terry to its “Hatewatch” list for being a concerned parent. This list is widely understood to be used by violent Marxists to find targets to harass, intimidate and damage any way they can.

When did parents become the enemy?

As John Stossel reported on the SPLC a few years ago, when something is labeled a “hate group,” it becomes the target. The SPLC lists the Family Research Council. Stossel said, “One man was so enraged by what the center said about the Family Research Council he went to their headquarters to kill people.”

“He told the judge that he was there to kill as many of us as possible,” said Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the FRC — all because the SPLC had put the FRC on its hate list.

The SPLC lists “people like Ben Carson, Laura Ingraham and Jeannie Pirro as extremists. But it doesn’t list antifa, the hate group that beats up people on the right,” Stossel said.

Parents are being framed as villains when the reality is that no single person or entity can care for, nurture and raise a child better than that child’s parents.

The government and left-wing corporations are attempting to sweep parental rights under the rug while they indoctrinate innocent children with their lies. Those who are bold enough to stand up for their God-given rights (as Terry Newsome did) are demonized, labeled “domestic terrorists” and ostracized from society.

Parents are the only legitimate option when it comes to raising children, and part of raising children is defending and fighting for what is best for them. Placing a parent like Terry on the SPLC hate list jeopardizes his and his family’s safety.

Stories of parents fighting for the rights of their children are powerful and serve as a beacon to all of us. More parents need to be informed and empowered to stand up for their children — it’s the only hope we have for the future of America.

VIDEO ‘God Put Me Here’: Officer Stops at McDonald’s to Get His K-9 Chicken Nuggets, Saves Baby’s Life

 By Amanda Thomason  January 24, 2023

FB screenshot

Jan. 10 was a busy day for Senior Cpl. Sergio Perez of the Dallas Police Department, and it certainly ended on a high note.

For starters, it was Perez’s birthday. He had spent the evening working with his K9, Goro, and was particularly impressed with the dog’s training, so he decided to indulge in a very special late-night treat for his furry partner: chicken nuggets.

As Perez waited in the McDonald’s drive-thru, he heard a woman screaming. She was crying for help.

“So I pulled up to see what was going on, and a female came around the corner holding a child on her shoulders and she was yelling and screaming that she needed to get her child to the hospital because he was not breathing,” Perez told KTVT-TV.

Other officers nearby also responded, but it was Perez who immediately began CPR, trying to revive the 1-year-old boy in that McDonald’s parking lot.

Body camera footage of the rescue shows the moment when the boy began breathing again. The officers did their best to reassure the terrified mother that everything was going to be all right.

“He’s breathing! He’s breathing, ma’am,” Perez said.

“His eyes are blinking, he’s moving, ma’am,” another officer said.

Another officer held the boy’s hand as Perez continued administering CPR and called for an ambulance.

“You OK, buddy?” an officer said to the boy. “We got you, buddy.”

“My training kicked in and [I] stayed calm and just kept talking to the child and reassuring mom that everything was gonna be OK,” Perez said.

The boy had experienced a seizure but is doing well now, according to police.

Perez, a father himself, said he was glad he was able to be there — but he gave the credit for being in the right place at the right time to God, saying the whole thing was a result of divine intervention.

“I believe that God put me here that night for that reason, you know, because I normally don’t give Goro nuggets, but that night, since we were doing real good on training, I said, ‘You know what, my partner deserves some nuggets tonight,’” Perez said.

There aren’t many birthday presents as fulfilling as saving a life. No doubt Perez will remember this particular birthday for years to come.

VIDEO Blind for the Glory of God

May 4, 2014 By John MacArthur

Now, this morning, I want you to open your Bible to John 9, the ninth chapter of John.  We are continuing to work our way through this biography of Jesus, which focuses on His deity.  This is written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name.  That’s the theme verse, chapter 20 verse 30 and 31.  So, it’s written to prove that Jesus is God in human flesh, and to prove that He is the Savior, and that believing in Him brings about eternal salvation.  That’s the purpose of John’s gospel; if not just history, it’s an evangelistic treatise with a view to leading people to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Savior.

And as He lives His life through the lens of John’s gospel, He continues to demonstrate His deity.  At the same time, the people of His nation, Israel, continue to escalate their rejection of Him.  When we come into chapter 9, there’s a little bit of a nuance that is added here that tells us we have passed some kind of a tipping point.  And that is, in the passage we’re going to be looking at, in verse 2, you’ll see the mention of His disciples.  This is the first time that His disciples have been mentioned in this particular setting of His ministry in Jerusalem, because He is still been focusing on the crowds.  He’s still been interacting with the people, demonstrating who He is, declaring who He is, making pronouncements about His identity that are supported by His power expressed in the miracles that He did.  He has been working, we might say, with the people and with the leaders. 

But there are only just a few months now until His death, and the fixed rejection of the people has become clear and crystallized.  And now we see Him begin to shift as we see also in the other gospels, toward His disciples in the last months, to make sure that He answers their questions and equips them for what is waiting them.

This, then, would tell us that, I guess in one sense, He is tipped across the edge, and is now on the downslope away from the crowds, away from the nation Israel, away from the leaders who have made up their mind about Him, focusing on His disciples.  That is not to say that this particular portion of Scripture doesn’t have impact or shouldn’t have on the people and the leaders, because in fact, it did.  But this introduces a new emphasis.

Let me read the opening 12 verses of this chapter.  The entire chapter, all the way to the very end, is basically built around one miraculous healing, the whole chapter.  And the chapter, most of it, is given to this discussion of the miracle itself.  That’s why I’ve titled it “Unbelief Investigates a Miracle.”  ‘Cause that’s exactly what’s going to happen.  But first, we have to start with the miracle itself, which they then investigate. 

Verse 1.  As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”  Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”  When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam,” which is translated, Sent.  So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.  Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?”  Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.”  He kept saying, “I am the one.”  So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?”  He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash;’ so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”  They said to him, “Where is He?”  He said, “I do not know.”

Sickness, disease, deformity, death, have dominated life in the world since the fall of Adam, which means essentially all of human history.  Touches us all; we’re all in the process of dying.  We all are infected and affected by the corruption that came by way of sin.  Familiar with sickness, familiar with disease, familiar with deformity.  All of that is part of life.  And it has literally dominated life since the beginning, since the very Fall recorded in Genesis chapter 3.  And if you go to the Old Testament, these corrupt influences falling on physical life are so dominating and so normal, and so unabated and uninterrupted, that throughout the entire Old Testament, miraculous healing is so rare, it is virtually non-existent. 

There was the healing of Naaman the leper, who was a border terrorist attacking the Jews.  That’s in 1 Kings.  And then, there was King Hezekiah who had a terminal illness, and God spared him and cured him of that terminal illness.  That’s 2 Kings.  And then, in Numbers 21, God sent snakes that bit the children of Israel with a deadly poison.  They would’ve died, except the Lord was merciful to them, and healed their snakebites. 

So, you have the healing of Naaman, an individual; the healing of Hezekiah, an individual; the healing of a group of Israelites, Jews, who were bitten by snakes.

And as far as an outright individual healing, very, very rare and unusual.  When you come into the New Testament, as the New Testament begins, there are a couple of other physical miracles of healing.  One happens to Elizabeth so that she who has been barren all her life is enabled to have a baby, John the Baptist.  That is a healing miracle.  And then, there of course is Mary, and Mary’s is not a healing, but Mary is given the right, and the privilege, and the power to bear a child without a father, a human father, the virgin birth.  But when you look at the Old Testament, you’ve got six occasions where an actual, physical miracle brought about a change in someone’s physiology.

In the Old Testament, you have three resurrections.  That’s all.  Three.  The widow’s son in 1 Kings 17, the Shunammite widow’s son in 2 Kings 4, and the man in Elijah’s grave in 2 Kings 13.  Three resurrections.  That’s it.  Very, very rare through the entire history, from the Fall, to the arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And by the way, you say, well, that’s just the Old Testament.  Yes, but if you just took the Old Testament, that would be religion central, wouldn’t it be?  That would be where God is most active.  That would be where God is working, God is acting through the fathers, through the prophets, through the history of Israel, the nation of Israel.  And in all of that period of history where God is acting, miracles don’t happen except on extremely rare occasions, miracles of healing.

Until Jesus shows up.  And when Jesus showed up, miracles explode in every direction throughout His three-year ministry.  By the way, He did no miracles for the first 30 years of His life.  None.  Because, when He reached the age of 30 and He went to a wedding in Cana, and turned water into wine, the Bible says this is the first miracle Jesus did.  So, these nonsense, gnostic, false gospels that have Jesus doing miracles as a boy are nothing but foolish.  We just don’t have healings in history.  You don’t have miraculous reversing of disease and deformity.  You don’t have resurrections.  You don’t have people coming back from the dead.  This is a very rare occasion.

Then you come into the life and ministry of Christ, and healings are happening virtually on a daily basis.  This is an explosion intended to demonstrate that the Messiah, the Son of God, God in human flesh, has arrived in the world.  Matthew 12:15 says He was healing all.  He was healing all.  So, He was healing all the people in all the places.  That’s why I’ve said many times that He banished illness, essentially, from the land of Israel.

And this, according to Acts 2:22 in the words of Peter that we’ve been looking at in our study of Acts: this is God attesting to Jesus as the Messiah by miracles.  These are supernatural healings.  These are creative miracles.  People with deformed limbs who were given new limbs.  People with deformed and diseased organs given new organs.  People with blind eyes given new eyes.  People who couldn’t hear given new ears.  Each is a creative work.  This consistent, John introduces the gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Nothing that was made was made without him; all things were made by Him.  He is the creator, and we see Him create.  All of these healing miracles are supernatural acts of creation, taking something corrupted, something deformed, something diseased, something infected, and replacing it with something brand new.  The works of God through Christ.

There’s no natural explanation for them.  There’s no medical explanation for them.  There’s no psychological explanation for them.  These are not psychosomatic diseases that people imagine they have, sort of overruled by Jesus’ power as a psychologist.  There is no medicine that He uses.  There is no formula applied to any of these illnesses.  There’s no natural process.  These are divine, supernatural, instantaneous, transforming creative miracles done by a word, or a touch, instantly and completely.  Nothing like it in human history.  It all exploded in a three-year period.

The prophet Isaiah in chapter 42 verse 7 said the Messiah would come and heal.  He would come and heal.  And this is the fulfillment of that Messianic prophecy in that Servant song of Isaiah chapter 42. 

Now, here in this, obviously, let me say this first: obviously, there are so many miracles that they’re not all in the New Testament.  But John tells us that, because at the end of his gospel, he said, “If everything that Jesus did was recorded, the books of the world couldn’t contain it.”  We have the privilege, here in chapter 9, of looking at one of the tens of thousands of miracles, creative miracles that Jesus did.  We’re going to examine this miracle alongside some unbelievers, and we’re going to find out how unbelief investigates a miracle.

This miracle alone should have substantially changed their view of Jesus.  If they hadn’t already understood that He was divine, this should’ve been enough to affirm His claim to deity.  But instead, instead of coming to faith, instead of acknowledging that there was no human explanation for what they had seen and experienced, all it does is elevate their animosity.  It elevates their anger.  The more evidence that Jesus gives, the more angry they become.  Their hatred escalates.  The conflict is ramped up. 

So, the inevitable happens.  Jesus begins to abandon them, and that’s why we see the introduction of conversations not so much with the Pharisees, as with the disciples.  They have fixed their deceived ignorance in stone, in most cases.  They’re merely laboring to gather more outrageous accusations against Jesus so they can press the issue of His execution.  It’s a sad, tragic fulfillment of the first chapter of John.  “He came into His own, and His own received Him not.”

Now, chapter 9 is devoted to the miracle and the investigation.  The whole chapter.  So, we’ll have to break it up a little bit over the next couple of weeks.  It is another miracle followed by a discussion and dialog.  We saw that in chapter 5.  We saw it in chapter 6.  We’ll see it here again.  Now, I want to break the passage up into some sections, so let’s just take, for this morning, verses 1 to 12.  That’s a big chunk for me, as you know, but it’s a narrative, and we’ll get through that.

I want to break these 12 verses down into simple points of contact: darkness, light, sight, and back to darkness.  Darkness, light, sight, and back to darkness.  So, let’s start with the darkness, verse 1.  “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.”  Blindness.  We see it all over the New Testament.  It’s a very common experience in New Testament times.  It was a very, very common reality in the ancient world.  But even going back beyond that, if you go back into the Old Testament, go back into the Pentateuch, go back to the time of Moses and the patriarchs, you will find blindness mentioned many, many times.  Mentioned in Leviticus, mentioned in Deuteronomy, then it’s mentioned in the books of history.  It’s mentioned in the prophets.  Blindness was a dominating reality in the ancient world, and that’s one of the reasons why Isaiah 42:7 said that when the Messiah comes, He will open blind eyes. 

Here is an illustration of this kind of blindness.  Jesus sees a man who is congenitally blind.  He has been blind his whole life.  He was born blind.  Now, let me give you the picture.  Jesus has just declared, in verse 58 of chapter 8, that He is the I am, that He is God Himself.  They were so infuriated at what they saw as blasphemy that they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself from them and went out of the temple.  He exited the temple. 

Now, as He goes out of the temple, as He passes by, He sees a man, blind from birth.  This man is sitting at one of the temple gates, begging as Jesus passed by.  How do we know that?  Because that’s a very apparent reality, because beggars, inevitably, ended up at the temple gates.  That’s where this man is.  I just need to make the note that, never too concerned with His own life, He stops, even though He’s at high-risk, and in danger because He’s escaping from being stoned.  He stops to demonstrate grace, and power, and mercy, and compassion, and even salvation on a blind beggar.  This is very much like Jesus at the very time of His death, collecting a thief on the way to His own death. 

There’s a beautiful parallel with this beggar, and another beggar in the third chapter of Acts.  Both are beggars sitting at the gate of the temple.  The beggar here is blind; the beggar in Acts 3 is paralyzed from birth.  He has congenital blindness; that one has congenital deformity.  Both are at the temple, and both are met by Jesus, and both are healed by Jesus.  These two things must have, even though the apostles mediated the power of Jesus in Acts 3, it was still the power of Jesus.  But they illustrate the healing power that Jesus expressed, and the commonality of beggars sitting by the temple.  In fact, in Matthew 21:14, it says, “The blind came to Him in the temple.  The lame came to Him in the temple.  And He healed them.” 

Look, you get it.  Beggars go where crowds are, right?  Beggars always go where crowds are, even today.  You go where crowds are, you find people begging.  They don’t operate in isolation.  Beggars knew where to be.  They went to the temple.  Why would they go to the temple?  Because, for one thing, the most devout people went to the temple.  Good people, ostensibly, went to the temple.  People with compassion, people who are kind, caring.  People also went to the temple because they were going to make a sacrifice in the morning and in the evening, and that meant they were conscious of their sin.  And people feeling guilty about sin are more likely to be generous.

So, you’ve got devout people, you’ve got people feeling guilt.  You have people also trying to earn their salvation in that system, and the way you earn your salvation, and they were taught by the rabbis, was to give alms.  You have people doing deeds of kindness and charity.  And then you just have the sheer volume of people there.  So, you have more to select from, if you will, and because crowds were pouring in and out of the temple all day long.  Also, beggars knew that where there are crowds of religious people who have doing good in mind, there’s safety from robbers who would otherwise take everything a beggar had.

So, the temple was where they were.  They located there ‘cause it was the best climate for them to survive.  The beggar can’t see Christ; he’s never seen anything.  But it says, He saw the beggar, “as He passed by.”  Sovereign grace dominates this miracle.  Sovereign will dominates this miracle.  The blind man can’t see anything.  He doesn’t know anything about Jesus coming by.  But Jesus sees him.  The blind man is a picture of the sin-blinded man who has no capacity to see Jesus, who is profoundly, deeply, engulfed in his desperate blindness, and has no capability to see the Savior.  The analogy is irresistible. 

In fact, the gospels use this analogy.  Paul talks about spiritual blindness a number of times.  And the gospels record more cases of blind people being healed than any other specific malady.  There’s one healing of a deaf-mute.  There’s one healing of someone with palsy.  There’s one healing of someone with a fever.  There are two healings of lepers, groups of lepers.  There are three dead people raised, but there are five separate accounts of blind people. 

Blindness well-illustrates man’s spiritual darkness and lost-ness.  Helpless from the start, this blind man is at the mercy of somebody who comes up, chooses to help him.  He’s like the sinner.  God has to take the initiative with the blind man through Christ.  God has to take the initiative through Christ for the sinner.  That’s how grace operates.  We’re lost, we’re dead, we’re blind, we know no truth, we see no Christ, we have no God, and God sees us.  Comes in compassion, grace, and bestows spiritual sight.

It’s a beautiful picture illustrated by this healing.  So, we see darkness then in verse 1.  In verse 2, we see light.  Verse 2 through 5.  And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi,” teacher, “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”  That’ll tell you where their theology was, essentially; that if something’s wrong with you, it’s a sin issue.  Not an indirect one, but a direct one.  Now, we would all agree that everybody’s illness is related to the fall of Adam, right?  But you can’t make a direct link between I’m sick because three months ago I committed a certain sin.  But in their theology, that’s how it worked.  If you’re deformed, if you’re diseased, if you have some kind of illness, it’s because of sin directly, not because of the fallenness of the world, but because there’s guilt that you are bearing. 

So, whose sin was it?  Which means that, and they split that out, was it this man, or his parents?  That was what they were, that was what had developed in their system, that people who were ill, or infirm, or whatever, were that way because either they sinned, or their parents sinned. 

Now, this questions could have a physical, a physiological component, a medical component, if you will.  Because the greatest ancient contributor to blindness was gonorrhea.  And since there was no treatment for that, when a mother had gonorrhea, a baby passing through the birth canal could come out blind, essentially.  This was epidemic.  Even in the modern world, where in third-world countries, there is no remedy for that.  Silver nitrate, or whatever is used; there’s no remedy for that.  Blindness is multiplied. 

There was a time not many years ago, according to one source I read, where 90 percent of the blind, born blind, were from venereal disease.  And again, even today in countries where they don’t have the ability to care for that, blindness is increased.  So were they saying something about the sin of the mother or the father?  Something about a transmitted disease?  Maybe that was in their mind, but probably more likely it was theological, rather than physiological. 

The rabbis were convinced that the sins of the parents were visited upon the children.  Where did they get that?  They got that because they misinterpreted Exodus 20, and I’ll come to that in a few minutes.  But they believed that parents’ sins could show up in children’s guilt and punishment. 

But just before we get to that point, backing up a little, they made a direct connection between suffering and sin in the life of the person.  Now, you remember the classic illustration of this is Job’s friends.  Job hasn’t done anything.  He’s suffering like mad.  His friends come up chapter, after chapter, after chapter, after chapter, they try to indict him, try to make him guilty, so they can find sin and direct cause for his suffering.  And he keeps throwing that off, and throwing that off.  But that was a reflection of their theology.  Where there is sin, there is suffering; and where there is suffering, there is corresponding, specific sin on the part of the individual who suffers. 

You see that in Luke 13.  You remember the tower fell over and killed all those people?  And you remember that Pilate’s men went in and sliced up the Galileans who were worshipping, and what did the people ask?  They said, “Are they worse sinners than everybody else?”  If calamity comes, if a tower falls on you and kills you, or if somebody stabs you, that’s a sign that you’re worse than everybody else, right?  The worst people have the calamities, and the better people escape.  That’s the same kind of theology. 

So, their question comes out of the milieu of the thinking of the rabbis.  The rabbis even had to explain congenital issues, congenital deformities, congenital blindness, born blind.  How could that be the sin of the person born blind?  When they say, was it this man who sinned?  How could he sin?  He was in the womb.  They even developed, the rabbis did, the idea of prenatal iniquity.  Sinning in the womb. 

And there are some really bizarre discussions between rabbis on this subject.  In which, one rabbi eventually responds with Genesis 4:47.  “Sin lies at the door,” and he makes the door refer to the door of the womb.  So, he interprets that as some kind of insight in to prenatal iniquity.  And the other guy argues, the other rabbi argues that if the baby was actually sinning in the womb, he’d be kicking harder.  Crazy.

Some believed, like Plato did, in the preexistence of the soul, influenced by Hellenists, so that somehow your soul was around sinning before you were conceived.  So, they did believe that somehow, some of them believed that something a person did in the womb, or as a soul before the womb, contributed to this condition.  On the other hand, they did believe, as well, that the children suffered from the parents’ sin. 

And that was Exodus 20 verse 5.  “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generations.”  You’ve heard people use that, that there are cursed children, cursed generations.  This notion that you’re paying for the sins of your parents somehow has managed to survive to our time even today.  But among the Jews, there was the idea that people could be punished for several generations for sins committed by their parents. 

You say, well, what does that mean?  First, it’s a collective statement: the sins of the fathers, the leaders, the generation, the heads of a generation.  The sins that they commit that define that generation area so influential that they can’t be reversed and rooted out for three or four generations.  That’s the principle that that is establishing.  It’s not saying individual sins for three or four generations of kids, grandkids, great grandkids, are going to be cursed.  That is completely alien to what Scripture says, and I’ll show you that in a minute.

But all it is saying is: you’d better take care of your generation, because if you are characterized by iniquity and sin, it’s going to take three or four generations to turn it around. 

Think about that when you look at the generation we’re living in right now.  This does not turn around fast.  It penetrates deeply.  This is not personal.  Turn to Ezekiel, ‘cause I need to show you this.  Ezekiel chapter 18.  One of the most important chapters in the prophets.  Ezekiel 18.  Because it’s directed at this question.  The Word of the Lord, chapter 18, verse 1.  Ezekiel 18. 

When the word of the Lord came to me, says Ezekiel, saying, “What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge?’” That’s the proverb.  The proverb is that the children suffer the consequence of the behavior of their parents.  So, God says to Ezekiel, “What do you mean using that?”  Verse 3.  “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore.”  Stop using that. 

Then he explained in verse 20.  “The person who sins will die.  The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be on him.” 

Individual responsibility, period, paragraph.  But in that Jewish theology, now, back to John 9, they had developed this system where generations could be cursed.  So, they want to know: did the man sin somehow?  Did he sin in some way?  Did he sin in the womb, or did his parents sin, and now he’s cursed with blindness? 

They would use a couple of cases.  They would go to Achan, and they would say, well, when Achan stole things that he wasn’t supposed to steal when he went into the land, and buried it in his tent.  You remember, God said stone him and his whole family?  Why did God want the whole family killed?  Answer: complicity.  They were all involved in it.  They were all guilty.  And there are times when God did directly punish someone for sin by giving that person an illness, and even killing some people in the Old Testament.  Miriam received leprosy in Numbers 12 as a direct punishment from God.  Uzziah, direct punishment from God, died.  Touching the ark, direct punishment from God, death. 

So, there are occasions of that happening in the Old Testament.  But the questions just reflects all of this theology.  The answer Jesus gives is verse 3.  “Neither this man sinned, nor his parents.”  This isn’t about that.  With one statement, completely obliterates that whole theological system, because Jesus is now saying: somebody can have a severe, congenital, life-long illness that has nothing to do with his own sin, or the sins of his parents.  That whole system, He wiped it out with one statement.  You can’t make that conclusion. 

Here’s the reason he’s blind: “So that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  He’s blind for the glory of God.  He’s blind for the glory of God.  He’s blind so that we could come to this moment, and this healing, and the power of God be put on display, and the works of God be manifest, and God be glorified.

Not all disease, not all defect, not all suffering comes from personal sin.  It can.  You can be a believer, and if you just keep sinning, the Lord may make you weak, and sick, and take your life.  There’s a sin unto death.  But you can’t necessarily make that connection, or you’re going to be like Job’s friends, and you’re going to be saying, “Oh Job, you’re sinning somewhere.  Come on.  Fess up.”  And you’re going to be no better than Job’s friends. 

No, this isn’t about this man’s parents.  Were they sinful?  Sure.  Is he a sinner?  Of course.  But this has nothing to do with that.  There are healthy sinners in the world.  Have you noticed?  Really, and some of them are wretched.  I mean, some of them are wretched sinners, and they live a long time, and they’re healthy, and there are sick believers who are faithful to the Lord that you can’t make those connections. 

Well, Jesus has done with that theology, just cuts the bottom out of all of it, and says, “This is about the works of God.”  The purpose of the man’s blindness is to reveal the miraculous power of God through the Son of God to substantiate His claims to be the Messiah, to be God Himself.  He’s going to do a creative miracle so that it becomes clear to everybody that He is the One who created, as John begins his gospel saying.  He’s a prepared vessel to put God on display through Christ.  Jesus doesn’t want to discuss theology any more than just to knock it off, just cut it down at the root. 

So, in verse 4, without any more theological discussion than just to obliterate that absolute connection that they had made, He says, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.”  Guess what?  It’s good to have a theological discussion, but sooner or later, you need to go to work.  He’s not going to stand there and debate theology with him at this point; it’s time to go to work. 

Well, He says, “Night is coming when no one can work.”  He’s not talking about physical night.  I suppose it was daytime, and I think He probably wanted to heal the man during the day so the man could see that he could see.  I mean, it would be sort of rude if you’re going to heal a guy, to wait till it was dark.  Come on.  Give me a break.  I mean, this is pretty monumental.  At least do this in the day.  So, I think Jesus intended to heal him during the day, but that’s not the point.  The point is: “We,” I love that we.  I’m going to camp on that in a minute.  “We must work the works of Him who sent Me.”  Back in chapter 5, verse 17 and following, Jesus said, “I work and the Father works.”  The Father and I work together.  What the Father does, I do; what the Father says, I say; what the Father wills, I will.  The Father and I work together, and they wanted to stone Him for that, because He was making Himself equal with God, remember that? 

Here, He pulls the disciples in with the “we.”  We are all together called together to “work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day.”  Well, what do you mean, “It is day?”  Not daylight.  Lifetime.  Lifetime.  Far greater spiritual implication here.  Death is looming on the horizon.  He has months.  The disciples, some of them don’t have very long.  They have years, but they’re martyred. 

There’s a far greater reality here.  We only have a brief time.  This is not a time to get caught up in theological debates.  We cut that theology at its foundation, and then we go to work.  I love this “we.”  Jesus says in John 5, “I work with the Father.”  And here, He says, “And we all work together with the Father.”  What a calling is this.  Staggering.  Staggering.  I love that “we.”  In the light of the fact that night is coming, the end of your life. 

We don’t know how much time we have.  We don’t know.  Months?  Years?  We don’t know.  Fewer every breath; fewer every day.  It’s time to work.  I don’t know how much time I have, but I don’t think I’ve ever had more things that I want to do for the kingdom.  I can’t put the reins on anywhere, because there’s only one thing to live for, and that’s to work with the Savior and the Father, and to do the work.  I’m so thrilled to be in the “we.”  “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day.”  As it is day.  It’s just an expression to talk about life, before the lights go out permanently, and you leave this world.

Ephesians 5:16, Paul puts it this way: “making the most of your time.”  Making the most of your time because the days are, well, what are you doing with your life?  What are you doing with your time?  Frittering it away with a bunch of nonsense that doesn’t matter.  I love that we’re in the “we” here.  That elevates the whole idea, doesn’t it?  As long as it is day, listen Christian, clean up your life, get moving, get the sin out, the worldliness out, the trivial stuff out, the compromise.  Stop wasting time.  Stop flirting with the world.  Stop doing those things that have no value at all in the future, and get at it, hand-in-hand with the Lord, hand-in-hand with the Father.  What an incredible thing to work with the One who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we can ask or think.  Get to work.

Jesus knew His death was coming in just months.  He says in verse 5, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”  But that’s only for a while.  He will always be the Light, in one sense, but it’ll never shine in the world as brightly as it did for those three years.  I must use my power and light while I am here.  He’s going to use His power to give this man physical light.  But more importantly, He’s going to give this man spiritual light. 

If you go down to verse 38, the man himself said, “Lord, I believe.”  And he worshiped Him.  So He not only heals the blind man; He saves him.  So, I say, verses 2 to 5, light breaks into the darkness.  First, it’s physical light, so he can see; and then it’s spiritual light, so that he can see God.  First, he could see the world around him, and then he could see the world, the invisible world.  “I am the Light of the world.”  Chapter 8, He said.  “I am the Light of the world.  He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, will have the Light of life.” 

Jesus is feeling the end of His life coming, and He’s saying, “Guys, we’ve got to work.  I can only shine at this level of brightness while it’s day, and it’s coming to an end.”  He repeated that kind of thing a number of times, at least four times in the gospels, where He talked about that He was the Light, but it wasn’t always going to be like that.  That time was limited. 

So, the darkness, and then the light.  And then, we come thirdly, verses 6 and 7, sight.  When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam,” which is translated, Sent.  So he went away and washed, and came seeing. 

Now, if you read commentaries, the question comes up: why did He use this method?  Well, He did it a few times.  Mark 7, He used saliva to mix with mud to put on somebody’s ears.  Mark 8, He did the same thing with another blind person.  He did that.  People say, well, why did He do that?  Well, I found some interesting suggestions.  One guy said: to make use of the healing quality of saliva.  Really?  That’s a stretch.  Another commentator said: to make Him even more blind.  You can’t be more blind than totally blind.  Piling mud on eyes that don’t function doesn’t make you more blind.  Not a good perception.  Another writer said: to symbolize that man is made from dirt.  Don’t see the connection.  Another said: to give the eyes time to heal.  Those eyes didn’t need to heal.  They had to be replaced.  Those are silly. 

Why did He use this method?  I have no idea.  Furthermore, I couldn’t care less.  He did.  He did.  There’s an element in it that I do understand.  Could’ve just touched his eyes and he would’ve seen instantaneously.  Created eyes on the spot.  Why does He send him somewhere?  Because I think He’s calling for obedience here.  He’s calling for the man to submit.  Now remember, the man doesn’t know who’s talking to him.  He’s never seen anybody.  But he obeys.  He goes, and does that.  He went away, verse 7, washed, came seeing.  Why would he do that?  If you came up to a blind beggar and spit and put dirt on his eyes, he’d probably slap you.  If he didn’t know who you were, and it wouldn’t matter who you were. 

Why does he do this?  Because the divine compulsion of an irresistible power is beginning to work on his will.  He’s being transformed.  Are we seeing here an illustration of regeneration?  New life is bursting on his blackened soul.  I don’t think he had any hesitation at all.  I think a spark of faith ignited in his heart as the Spirit of God began to change him on the inside.  It comes to fruition in verse 38 when he says, “Lord, I believe,” and worships Him. 

Are these the first workings of the power of the Holy Spirit to draw this man to submit to Christ?  Why the pool of Siloam?  That’s a very special place.  Outside the wall, there was a place called the Spring of Gihon.  A lot of water.  But the city was very vulnerable.  It was under siege, and they were worried in Hezekiah’s day about the Assyrians sieging the city and cutting off the water.  So, Hezekiah had a tunnel built from the spring up, in under the city wall, into Jerusalem so they would have a water supply, and the water was kept in the pool of Siloam.  It meant Sent because the water was sent from the spring, Gihon, into the city.  This was the water supply where they went at the Feast of Tabernacles to gather the water for the great festival when they poured out the water remembering God’s provision of water in the wilderness, and Jesus said He was the water, the living water.  Remember that? 

So, this spoke of God’s provision.  It spoke of God’s cleansing, spoke of the water of life.  It’s really a beautiful picture, and it was water sent into the city, another wonderful symbol.  The waters flow from the temple hill and are regarded, even in the Old Testament, as symbolic of spiritual blessing.  Isaiah 8 talks about that. 

So when a man went to wash at Siloam, there was an analogy there.  He was going to the one who was the true Siloam, the spring of life water from God.  Christ is the true Siloam.  That, He even said back in chapter 7 verse 37.  “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”  Beautiful imagery, beautiful analogies. 

This is how salvation works in this analogy.  Sovereign grace confronts a blind and helpless, hopeless begging sinner.  He can’t see, can’t see God, can’t see Christ.  But sovereign grace comes to him, places His glorious, merciful hand on his sightless soul, asks only a response of simple faith, prompts that response.  He finds his way to the cleansing waters, which is an emblem of Messianic salvation in Isaiah, and he comes back, and he can see, spiritually.  It’s really a beautiful picture. 

That leads us to the last little part of the opening, and we’re back to darkness again, ‘cause everybody’s now in the dark about what’s going on.  The neighbors and those who previously saw him as a beggar were saying, “Is not this the one who sued to sit and beg?”  Which mean that it was a daily deal for him, survival.  Very familiar.  Same beggar, always in the same place.

They can’t explain how this man can come seeing, so they say, “Isn’t this the one that used to sit and beg?”  And others were saying, “This is he.”  Still others were saying, “No, but, he’s like him.  He looks like him.  It can’t be.”  He steps up and says, “I’m the one.  You guys don’t need to debate.  I can tell you.  I’m the one.”  I can’t imagine the rest of that conversation, as he was trying to explain that he’d never seen anything in his life, and process the whole world now in front of him.  I don’t know what kind of joy and exuberance he was expressing in saying it was him. 

So they were saying, “How then were your eyes opened?”  I love this, verse 11.  He answered.  This is a simple, simple explanation.  “The man who is called Jesus,” somebody must’ve told him that.  “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash;’ so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”  That does not explain how it happened.  That just explains what he did.  There is no explanation for how it happened.  That’s a creative miracle. 

But the man can only describe the experience.  So, he’s trying to push the darkness back for the rest of the folks.  All I can tell you: this man named Jesus came, put mud on my eyes, told me to go to Siloam and wash.  And I did, and I can see.  They said to him, “Where is He?”  He said, “I don’t know.”  I mean, he might’ve said, “Where’s where?  I’ve never seen where or anything else, so what do you mean?  You want directions from me?  I don’t know where anything is.” 

So, this darkness ensues and falls over everybody.  How are they going to dispel the darkness?  Verse 13.  They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind.  They’re going to go to the experts.  And this is where unbelief begins to investigate a miracle with a predictable result.  It’s really an incredible story, an amazing story.  The account of Jesus healing a blind man beautifully illustrates really the salvation process.  We sit blinded by sin, begging.  We can’t see God.  We can’t see Christ.  We have no capacity to recognize the Savior.  We have no way to initiate any kind of deliverance or rescue.

And then, God, in His mercy; Christ, in His grace, finds us.  That’s salvation.  And He reaches out to us in our blindness, and He gives us sight.  And all He asks is a simple act of faith, which He empowers.  And He washes us.  And we forever see.  And that’s what will happen to this man.  First, the physical healing came, and then the soul blindness was removed.  But we’ll have to keep that for next time.  Let’s pray.

It’s such a blessing, Lord, to live these scenes, feel like we’re there to some extent, because of the clear, beautiful, simple language of Holy Scripture.  So wonderful to go back to the settings, and walk with Jesus in these situations.  And it’s even more wonderful then seeing it as history, as great as that is, to know that this is our own reality as well, for we were blind, and didn’t see God, and didn’t see Christ, and didn’t know the Light.  We didn’t even know there was a world to see, or what it was like, until You came in mercy and grace, sovereignly chose to give us spiritual sight.  All You asked was a simple act of faith, which You empowered, and we came and we washed.  We were cleansed, and we can see.  Thank You for the salvation that You’ve given to us, sovereignly, graciously.  Lord, I ask that You would grant that to those who are here today who are still blind, still sitting, begging with no sight, and no hope.  Lord, stop by them.  Stop by those souls, and reach down, and touch them.  Give them sight.  Empower faith in their lives, to embrace You as Lord and Savior.

Again, Lord, with gratitude, we bring this hour to its end. We are so refreshed in fellowship with one another and with You. So enriched, greatly blessed. Seal to our hearts these great truths. May they become a part of us, the very fabric of our thinking. May we be available to Your Holy Spirit to speak the words of hope and salvation to those we meet. Use us for Your glory, we pray. Christ’s name. Amen.

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/43-49

What did Jesus say from The Cross?

  BY DEBRAPEDROW

Last week my post—When did “a cross” become “The Cross”?,  revealed the true message of The Cross. “Through Jesus’ resurrection—He once was dead then came to life three days later—a cross turned into The Cross!”

“Literally,  a cross is itself not power. But, The Cross, the means by which Jesus sacrificed Himself to death and now symbolizes eternal life for Christians-that, dear believers, holds power. It is truth we Christians need to remember daily.”

It was on The Cross that Jesus shared His final words. Often, people are intrigued to know the dying words of someone about to take their last breath. In fact books have been written on this very topic. Famous last words of five well known men include:

  • “I die hard but am not afraid to go.” – George Washington, US President
  • “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” – Steve Jobs, Apple founder
  • “Love one another.” – George Harrison, The Beatles
  • “One last drink, please.” – Jack Daniel, Distiller
  • “A dying man can do nothing easy.” – Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of America

One can decipher any interpretation one wants from the above statements. They were made by intelligent ordinary men. Though successful in their fields, none were privy to know beforehand the eternal realm they were about to enter upon their deaths.

Jesus knows about life and death.

On the other hand, Jesus, while in life on earth and in death to His body on The Cross, knows all things seen and unseen. Jesus was “In the beginning. . .”—knowing what was past, is present, and what is to come.

Jesus is God. That means Christians should consider the importance of the last seven statements He made to us from The Cross, right before giving up His earthly body.

Try and picture the horrific scene of darkness in the afternoon as Jesus’ battered body hung on The Cross between two other men also being crucified.

Jesus’ mother Mary—crying as she is consoled by the women followers of Jesus. John the apostle—watching his beloved friend suffer as many gather just to gawk. All while Roman soldiers—caring more about themselves gamble at the foot of The Cross for Jesus’ clothes.

Jesus’ seven statements from The Cross:

1….Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

These are the first words Jesus spoke after being nailed to The Cross. Jesus asks that God forgive His haters. This offering of Jesus’ divine love to sinners speaks volumes on the unquestionable love Jesus has for all. As His unidentifiably bruised and battered body hung dying at His accusers hands—Jesus asked God to forgive His killers.

2….Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus was crucified along with two criminals. The one on Jesus’ left mocked Him while the one on the right expressed faith in Jesus. Again, even as Jesus’s body was dying, Jesus offered His love to another by assuring the criminal of his place in Heaven.

3….John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,  here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Jesus’ beloved mother, Mary, was at the crucifixtion along with John the apostle. Seeing Mary, Jesus was concerned for her wellbeing on earth and entrusted her to John’s care, all while He hung on The Cross.

4….Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

At this moment Jesus felt the sin of the world upon Him—the reason for which He sacrificed Himself—and He was temporarily separated from God The Father. I believe Jesus absent from the presence of His Father induced far more anguish and suffering than the physical pain man was pressing upon Him.

5….John 19:28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”

Jesus fulfills the Messianic prophecy from Psalm 69:21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.

6….John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

This means the works Jesus came to do: teaching God’s word, discipling, miracles, exemplifying love, healing, and His sacrificial death for man’s sin, was now complete.

7….Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Jesus, free of sin, willfully gave His unblemished spirit to God, who lovingly accepted it as redemption for all man’s sin.

Thank-you, Jesus.

Now that you have this scene in your mind, take a few moments and thank our almighty LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the unmatched love His offers. None in this world compares with His endless compassion, mercy and grace. If you ever doubt His love, just think back and remember all that Jesus did and said at The Cross.

We overcome life because Jesus overcame death!



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To learn and share the importance of keeping God’s name holy, order copies of my book, LIFT HIM UP DON’T PULL HIM DOWN, @ LULU.COM or AMAZON.COM for your next Bible study.

VIDEO Australian Aid Worker/ Mercenary in Ukraine Gives Different Account of War, Russian Success Against Western Alliance and Chinese Assistance – Hunter Biden’s Biolabs

Australian Aid Worker/Mercenary in Ukraine Gives Different Account of War, Russian Success Against Western Alliance and Chinese Assistance

January 30, 2023 | Sundance 

Several people have sent this video interview requesting opinion.  The video reflects an interview between two Australians.  The interviewer is a podcaster the person being interviewed explains his background on the ground in Ukraine as “officially” an “aid worker,” however, what he describes is more like a mercenary.

The interview is rather lengthy and starts at 02:13 with a question about what is happening in Bakhmut in the Eastern Ukraine fighting battlefield.  The unknown Australian merc in the interview describes the Russians overwhelming the Ukraine forces in most battles.  The Ukrainian military units have made several strategic mistakes that have played into the hands of the more capable Russian forces.

The main Russian element being described is the Wagner group who are well known to be brutal and strategic special force fighters.  The interview is from a pro-Ukraine, pro-western alliance perspective.  However, in the bigger picture the Ukraine military units are being ground down by attrition, despite the massive amount of aid being delivered by NATO allies.  The description is a rather brutal assessment of the devastation created by horrific modern warfare.  WATCH:

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Summary: Ukraine not winning. Wagner PMC/Russian tactics and technology vs. Ukraine. Chinese tech advisors helping Russians. Non-existant Medi-vac. Western Military Aid Stolen 60% off the top 40% sold on black market. Russian Artillery Domination. Ukrainian Officers Incompetence. Ukrainian Soldiers Lack Basic Equipment.

Hunter Biden’s Metabiota Labs Received Tens of Millions of Dollars in DOD Contracts – Experimented with Bat Viruses in at least One Biolab

By Jim Hoft February 1, 2023

US Biolabs in Ukraine

According to USASpending.gov, a database of spending by the US federal government, the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded tens of millions of dollars in contracts to Hunter Biden’s Metabiota labs.

Metabiota is a San Francisco-based health startup known for tracking epidemics. The company is mentioned on the Hunter Biden laptop.

Hunter Biden’s investment firm, Rosemont Seneca, invested $500,000 in Metabiota, and the company went on to raise several million more from investment giants like Goldman Sachs.

The firm has biolabs in several countries, including Ukraine, where Hunter played an important role in the company’s activities.

TRENDING: BREAKING: FBI Is Searching Biden’s Rehoboth Beach Home Three Months After Initial Raid in Classified Documents Scandal

In their pitches to potential backers, Hunter bragged that they had done more than just get financing for the company; they had also helped it “get new customers,” including “government agencies” in the case of Metabiota, according to Daily Mail.

Government data shows Hunter Biden secured millions in government funding and grants for Metabiota after he became part owner of the firm.  

Metabiota was one of the 46 Ukrainian Bioweapon labs that the US government partnered with, per DC Draino.

Hunter Biden’s laptop contains several documents regarding his team’s 50/50 ownership of Metabiota. The Gateway Pundit posted two of those documents from the laptop discussing Metabiota on Tuesday.

See below:

Following Hunter Biden and his company, Rosemont Seneca’s acquisition of a 50% ownership stake in the Metabiota, the government contracts and grants started flowing.

Before the Rosemont Senaca agreement, Metabiota was given a $349,513 contract from the government.

Following Hunter’s involvement, Metabiota was awarded a contract with the Department of Defense worth $23.9 million.

Here is a list of government contracts awarded to Metabiota.

Before Hunter was involved, Metabiota received a $649,882 grant from the US government.

After Hunter became involved, Metabiota received several million in government grants.

According to Daily Mail, Hunter Biden connected a corrupt Ukrainian gas company called Burisma with the Metabiota for an undisclosed “scientific project.”

The outlet added that Metabiota is supposedly a medical data company, but in 2014, Metabiota Vice President Mary Guttieri contacted Hunter explaining how they could “assert Ukraine’s cultural and economic independence from Russia,” an unusual ambition for a biotech corporation.

“Thanks so much for taking time out of your intense schedule to meet with Kathy and I on Tuesday. We very much enjoyed our discussion. As promised, I’ve prepared the attached memo, which provides an overview of Metabiota, our engagement in Ukraine, and how we can potentially leverage our team, networks, and concepts to assert Ukraine’s cultural and economic independence from Russia and continued integration into Western society,” the email reads.

Read below:

Burisma Executive Vadym Pozharskyi emailed Hunter four days after Guttieri’s email in April 2014, disclosing that Hunter Biden had proposed a “scientific project” involving Burisma and Metabiota in Ukraine.

“Please find few initial points to be discussed for the purposes of analyzing the potential of this as you called, “Science Ukraine” project,” Pozharskyi wrote.

Read below:

After Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine, the project turned into a national security liability.

The Gateway Pundit reported on Tuesday that Ukrainian President Zelensky ordered government officials to destroy all information on Hunter Biden’s Metabiota Company on the same day Russia invaded the country.

Zelensky sent out a decree on February 24, 2022 for government officials to destroy all information on the Ukrainian Research Anti-Plague Institute, Mechnikov Institute of Health of Ukraine, and the Zhytomyr Regional Laboratory Centers of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, who all worked with Metabiota Inc. (Metabiota) scientists.

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The controversy surrounding Hunter Biden is far from over. The Department of Defense awarded Metabiota a $2.5 million grant for studying bat viruses for at least one of their biolabs.

This Metabiota facility in Africa was studying viral sharing among bats that likely involved the coronavirus.

“SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH – COMBATING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: EVALUATING ZOONOTIC VIRAL SHARING AMONG BATS, PRIMATES AND PEOPLE IN A HIGH RISK TRANSMISSION INTERFACE IN SOUTHERN TANZANIA,” according to the information listed.

You just can’t make this up!

Last March The Gateway Pundit reported on Russian allegations of US biolabs experimenting with bat viruses in Ukraine.

It now appears that the information was accurate.

The study shows US and Ukrainian officials studying insectivorous bats in Ukraine and detection of emerging viral and baterial pathogens including coronavirus.

So it wasn’t just Wuhan.

The US was also funding bat research on coronavirus in Ukraine too!

This links the Biden Crime Family to bat research at biolabs in Ukraine and Africa.

The Biden clan is not just corrupt, but dangerous.

MORE: Hunter Biden’s Biolab Firm Metabiota Linked to EcoHealth, World Economic Forum – Russia Claims it has 20.000 Biolab Documents

By Richard Abelson February 1, 2023

Hunter Biden’s firm invested $500,000 in Ukrainian biolab operator Metabiota, which then received a $23.9 million contact from the Pentagon for bioresearch. Metabiota head Nathan Wolfe worked together with EcoHealth’s Peter Daszak on SARS-based coronavirus research. The Russian  Defence Ministry claims to have over 20,000 documents on the US biolab project in Ukraine.

On Feb. 24, 2022, the day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the destruction of all documents related to Hunter Biden’s partner firm Metabiota, blogger Jacob Creech AKA @WarClandestine reported in June 2022 and again yesterday on Twitter after he was reinstated.

Hunter Biden’s Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners invested $500,000 in the San Francisco bioresearch firm Metabiota and raised millions more through firms that included Goldman Sachs, according to the e-mails on Hunter Biden’s laptop, as the New York Post reported March 26, 2022.

On April 4, 2014 Metabiota vice president Mary Guttieri  wrote to Hunter Biden: “As promised, I’ve prepared the attached memo, which provides an overview of Metabiota, our engagement in Ukraine, and how we can potentially leverage our team, networks, and concepts to assert Ukraine’s cultural and economic independence from Russia and continued integration into Western society.”

TRENDING: BREAKING: FBI Is Searching Biden’s Rehoboth Beach Home Three Months After Initial Raid in Classified Documents Scandal

On April 8, 2014, Burisma manager Vadym Pozharshki wrote to Hunter Biden’s business partner Devon Archer, inquiring about a proposed deal with Biotech firm Metabiota. “As I understand Metabiota was a subcontractor to principal contractor of the DoD B&V (Black & Veatch)… What kind of partnership Metabiota is lo0oking for in Ukraine? … The principal contractor B&V (Black & Veatch) seems to be also the party that operates in Ukraine on similar or the same projects. There is no competition here?”

Vadym Pozharshki met with Hunter Biden and Joe Biden in Café Milano in Washington, DC on April 16, 2015, as e-mails on the Hunter Biden laptop show. “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together,” Pozharskyi wrote on April 17, 2015. “It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure.”

On May 12, 2014, Hunter Biden joined the Board of Directors of Burisma Holdings, according to its press release.

Metabiota was spun off from San Francisco not-for-profit organization Global Viral 2014, previously known as Global Viral Forecasting Institute (GVFI), according to the Global Viral website. Neil Callahan and John DeLoche, employees of Hunter Biden’s company Rosemont Seneca Partners, were appointed to the board of Metabiota.

Metabiota head Nathan Wolfe is an expert on Viral Pandemics who serves on the editorial board of EcoHealth and is a member of DARPA’s Defense Science Research Council. Wolfe co-authored a paper 2017 on “Global patterns in coronavirus diversity” with Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance and the EcoHealth PREDICT Consortium. GVFI Vice President Joseph Fair appeared at the Wuhan Institute of Vorology with Dr. Shi Zhengli 2013.

On Oct. 3, 2014, Rosemont Seneca Technologies Partners (RSTP) Managing Director John DeLoche wrote to Hunter Biden that RSTP would “increase our investment in Metabiota by 250 k … They raised about $2.4 mm of which we represent $500 k (250 k from the first investment plus this one). They intended to raise a max. of $1,6, mm but it was oversubscribed. The way to think about this one is that Palantir is to the CIA what Metabiota is to the USDA. … They hope to raise another $15 mm at least $80 mm pre which would be a nice 5x mark-up to our investment.”

On Oct. 9, 2014, John DeLoche wrote to Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, and RSTP manager Rob Walker: “Is there anyone we can call in DC to get a sense of how legit Metabiota is viewed within the various governemnt agencies? We want to make sure we thoroughly do our diligence here, especially as Goldman and now Morgan Stanley will be doing diligence on the fund and Metabiota towards investing in both.

Additionally, who have we introduced them to in DC? Can you please provide a list of the various folks withing Cornerstone as well as outside the firm where we have made intros? This data will go in our investment memo which we are trying to compplete and get to potential LPs by Tuesday.”

Rob Walker answered on Oct. 9, 2014: “I am going to have a friend reach out to DoD on the down low.”

Metabiota received a $23.9M contract from the DoD in 2014 after $340k from DHS 2013, writes Rogan O’Handley AKA “DC Draino”:

Metabiota was selected as a World Economic Forum TechPioneer 2021.

Writing on Twitter, Jacob Creech claimed that “Biden was trying to cover his tracks in Ukraine, because he was afraid Trump was going to look into the dealings there.”

Lawyer Tom Renz claimed the US embassy “just removed all their Ukraine bioweapons lab documents from the web.”

The Russian Ministry of Defence claims to be in possession of more than 20,000 documents that supposedly expose the USA’s bio-warfare programs in Ukraine. In a tweet on Monday 1/30, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) alleged, “The materials confirm that the Pentagon aimed at creating elements of a biological weapon, & testing it on the population of Ukraine.”

Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov accused the US government of “contradicting themselves”: If the US biolab program was purely peaceful, “Why were the works so promptly curtailed?” Antonov asked, “Why are these issues handled by the military, but not the civilian specialists?”

“The answer is obvious: Washington had and has something to hide. This, by the way, was confirmed by (Pentagon spokesman John) Kirby himself, according to whom the projects were closed, and the laboratories were deactivated strictly before the special military operation started. In other words, the US did everything possible to ensure that the results of its research did not fall into the hands of the Russian military,” Antonov said.

Antonov claimed the U.S. government is now “actively relocating the unfinished projects from Ukraine to the countries of Central Asia and Eastern Europe” and shifting programs to  “civilian structures” such as HHS and USAID. “They obviously hope that it will help them avoid criticism and deflect the blow from the Pentagon,” Antonov claimed.

“However, the US administration fails to suppress public discussion. In the United States itself, various investigations have been initiated with regard to federal bioprojects, including on the gain-of-function research, and side effects of vaccination,” the Russian Ambassador to the UN said. “No matter how Washington tries to dodge, sooner or later it will have to answer questions that were raised by the Russian Federation. One should remember: any lie has an expiration date.”

In June last year, the United States’ Department of Defence released a fact sheet stating that it supports “nuclear, chemical, and biological threat reduction efforts.” The DoD claimed to conduct ‘peaceful biological research projects’ in former Soviet nations with the help of ex-Russian bioweapons scientists.

“The United States, through international collaboration, has also worked to address other biological threats throughout the former Soviet Union. Subject matter experts in biology, biodefense, public health, and related fields were engaged from across the U.S. government,” the DoD stated.


Related

If You See Someone Making This Symbol With Their Hands You Need To Call The Cops Immediately…

Dantheman IN THE NEWS  JANUARY 29, 2023

TikTok might not be as popular as Facebook, the biggest social media platform on the planet, or as powerful as Twitter, where businesspeople and politicians congregate.

It might be almost as strong as Instagram, but not quite as popular. But many of the social media trends are still found on the platform. It’s where memes and viral content are created, as well as where challenges are created.

Young people on the internet and many teenagers from all over the world congregate on TikTok.

When they are at home or away from home, TikTok serves as their home. And this, it appears, that it saved a young girl from an elderly pedophile.

A 61-year-old man is accused of kidnapping a 16-year-old girl from North Carolina and forcing her to ride in the back seat of his silver Toyota Camry.

As they traveled in that direction, the young girl made a distressed hand signal there that has become common on TikTok.A passing driver apparently recognized this signal and understood the SOS message made famous by TikTok. While quietly dialing 911, the person kept track of the Camry and updated the authorities on its whereabouts.

“The complainant was behind the vehicle and noticed a female passenger in the vehicle making hand gestures that are known on the social media platform ‘TikTok’ to represent violence at home – I need help – domestic violence,” said Laurel County Sheriff John Root.

“The complainant advised 911 that the female appeared to be in distress. In addition, the complainant noted that the vehicle was being driven by a male subject.”

James Herbert Brick, a resident of Cherokee, North Carolina, was later revealed to be the older man.

Brick claimed to be traveling with the girl at the time to see his family in Ohio.

However, after spotting the girl, the authorities discovered that the 16-year-parents old’s in Asheville, North Carolina, had reported her missing a day earlier.

When they pulled over the car for a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in southern Kentucky, the authorities realized this, according to Sheriff Root.

“It was learned through investigation that the female passenger was a reported missing juvenile – reported by her parents on Tuesday morning missing from Asheville, North Carolina,” the Laurel Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. “A check through NCIC confirmed that she was a reported missing person.”

“The female juvenile told Sheriff’s investigators that she had gotten with the male subject and traveled through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and into Ohio where the accused had relatives.”

“When the male subject’s relatives realized that the female in his custody was under age and reported missing, the accused left Ohio traveling southbound and the female juvenile then began attempting to get motorists attention to call 911.”

Gilbert Acciardo, a deputy for Laurel County, said she initially had accompanied Brick voluntarily. Acciardo said that when she realized something was wrong, “I think she started fearing for her life.”

After being interrogated, Brick had his phone taken away. Authorities then discovered something even more sinister on the phone: a picture “that allegedly depicted a juvenile female in a sexual manner.”

This demonstrates Brick’s status as a child predator and pedophile.

Brick was subsequently taken to the Laurel County Correctional Center and charged with unlawful imprisonment and possessing materials depicting minors engaging in sex acts.

The hand signals include gestures made with a fist that is closed across the thumb that is positioned in front of the palm.

Together, they produce three signals that stand for “domestic violence,” “I need help,” and “violence at home.”The hand signals simply say “reach out to me safely,” not “call the police right away.”

Hand signals are said to be discreet and can be made with just one hand. Victims sometimes give off signals when they don’t want to alert their kidnappers or when they are in too much danger to speak freely.

During the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, the SOS became a common way for people to signal that they were in dangerous circumstances at home.

The United Nations reported that during lockdowns, domestic abuse cases rose by as much as 20%, part of a worrying pattern the organization dubbed a “shadow pandemic.”

After domestic violence victims were increasingly trapped inside with their abusers, posts elaborating on the gestures started to circulate on TikTok in 2020.

Due to their impact on users’ mental health, social media networks generally have received mixed to unfavorable reviews. Social media platforms have dealt with bullies, trolls, and suicide cases for more than a few years.

However, in some instances, such as this one, social media platforms do assist in raising awareness which is proving essential in aiding victims.

Necessary Friction

by Greg Laurie on Jan 21, 2023

 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”  —Luke 9:61

Some restaurants present you with a dessert menu, while others tempt you with a dessert tray they bring to your table. On one such occasion I said to the people I was having dinner with, “Let’s get dessert, because I’m going on a diet tomorrow.”

Everyone at the table started laughing at the same time. When I asked why, they told me, “You say that every time you order dessert.” I didn’t realize it, but that was my go-to excuse for getting dessert.

In Luke’s Gospel we read about someone who said to Jesus, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house” (Luke 9:61 NKJV). At first glance, this doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request. After all, what is wrong with saying goodbye to family and friends?

Jesus knew this person’s heart wasn’t right. Being God, He could see into a person. He knew his loyalty was divided. Jesus was saying, “It’s time for you to make a commitment.”

We find the root of the problem in this statement: “Lord, I will follow You, but . . .” This person really didn’t want to follow the Lord.

If Jesus really is the Lord of our lives, then we will follow Him. There is no ifand, or but about it.

What this person was saying is, “I don’t want trouble at home. I don’t want trouble with the family. I need to go and say goodbye for a while. I just don’t want friction.”

Here’s something to consider: you will either have friction in your relationship with God and harmony with people or have harmony with God and friction with people.

If you’re a completely committed follower of Jesus Christ, then you will have friction with some members of your family and certain friends, specifically those who do not want to follow Jesus Christ.

The Floating Ax Head (Passage Breakdown)

Here I Am, Send Me

And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.” So he answered, “Go.” Then one said, “Please consent to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed.” So the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float. Therefore he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it. (2 Kings:6-7)

1. See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. Please, let us go to the Jordan… The Way spreads like a wildfire and the Jordan represents The Living Water.

2. and let every man take a beam from there… we work together as a church and one body

3. So he answered, “Go.” Then one said, “Please consent to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. When we give ourselves to Christ we start out crawling like a newborn baby therefore we need our Father to come with us for protection and guidance.

4. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees… The Way is like the sharp edge of a blade and can transform any “landscape”.

5. But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed… We can all succumb to “backsliding”, and we should never take for granted the purity Christ imputes onto us as a result of his good work on the cross.

6. So the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And he showed him the place… If and when we ever backslide, Christian, it’s vital we can identify when and why it began.

7. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float… Jesus will keep us on “life support” to give us time to gather ourselves and to learn from deep within our backslidden state.

8. Therefore he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it… Jesus will show us the door, but it’s on us to walk through it and continue on our journey with Him.

https://yourbasicinstructionsbeforeleavingearth.wordpress.com/2023/01/12/the-floating-ax-head-passage-breakdown/

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